Lefty 14 year old at pitching camp

Here is recent video of my 14 year old lefty son at pitching camp. I apologize for the poor video quality. The coaches said he had great mechanics. The one thing they said to be aware of is that he kind of falls off to the side when his arm is coming through. Any comments would be much appreciated!

has he ever had elbow pain? He brings his elbow quite a bit above his shoulder, which, according to Chris O’ Leary could be a problem.

Nope, never had any arm problems. I’m not sue who Chris O’Leary is. At the camp, they never said anything about his arm being up high. Just that he kind of falls off the side giving him a different arm slot which could leave the ball up in the strike zone or miss high completely.

He looks very solid for a 14 year old in my opinion.

The kinda falling off to the side, is something to keep in mind, right now it’s not a problem, going by that video that you’ve shown. If he actually starts falling off to the side like Felix Hernandez or Bartolo Colon does then I’d be more worried about this causing a problem.

Now as far as the high arm O’Leary bit, well…to each his own if someone wants to buy into his ‘theories’ then go for it, but be sure to be very well educated.

[quote=“Viking7”]The one thing they said to be aware of is that he kind of falls off to the side when his arm is coming through.[/quote]I don’t get this comment. I see no “falling off to the side” at all. I’d be more concerned about his lack of hip rotation into landing. He needs to rotate off the rubber with the back foot more, just before the foot touches down. Spin that back knee and foot more into landing.

I dont see the falling off in those clips either.

ya i wouldn’t worry too much about the falling off the side because he really doesn’t at all…if anything his head may be getting a little outside his front knee but that’s not a hig issue because it’s not extreme.

I would say the arm action scares me a bit. He gets good whipping action but taking it out that high puts tremendous strain on the elbow and shoulder. I think he should break his hands lower by his thighs or knees as many major leaguers do. FYI here is the link to Chris O’leary’s work.


Otherwise it is pretty impressive for a 14 year old. You can tell he has a great arm and is an athlete.

OK, guys…call me crazy, but I’ve been reviewing the video to see what you mean when talking about his arm action. When I pause the video right when his hips are starting to rotate and his arm is coming out front, I believe his elbow is higher than his shoulder BECAUSE he is falling off to the side. Or “his head is outside his knee”. Maybe this issue can be helped with strengthening his core and reminding him to focus all his energy to the plate.

This isn’t a problem.

It’s due to his high arm slot.

I don’t think this is a big deal in this case because, while his PAS elbow starts high, it drops before his shoulders start to rotate.

It seems like the “falling off to the side” comment is not referring to what is typically the case, that being a “falling” of the entire body. In your son’s case, this isn’t happening. He’s quite balanced and in control. It appears that “falling” in this case is because the spine has tilted to the side. I wouldn’t categorize this a “falling”. Oh well. Semantics.

You said:

[quote]I believe his elbow is higher than his shoulder BECAUSE he is falling off to the side. Or “his head is outside his knee”. Maybe this issue can be helped…[/quote]So, it seems that you are considering his elbow being above his shoulder as an “issue” to be “helped”. I do not believe that your son has an “issue” in this regard and you should be aware that this idea of the elbow being above the shoulder is seen as an issue by one person and there is very little agreement on it as well as no evidence for it. If you’re interested in wading into these muddy waters, check out the “Arm Height” thread or the “Chris O’Leary’s Theory” thread.

Long story short, I believe that arm action is NOT an issue for your son. His elbow only appears “above” the shoulder because his spine is tilted. If you draw a line through his shoulders, you’ll see that his upper arm will be in line and not “above”.

Before posting this video, noone had ever mentioned the arm above the shoulder being an issue, including the man who works with him who played in the MLB for many years. However, when a couple people mention the same thing, it calls for more discussion and research. I am not so naiive to take one person’s opinion and subscribe to only that view. Bear in mind also the coaches at the camp who originally mentioned the “falling off to the side” are the pitching coaches for the D1 school that just won the CWS two years in a row.

I believe my son has true potential as a pitcher if he keeps it up. I also feel that any offering of advice in helping him achieve his goals is welcome and open for discussion. It’s all about keeping him healthy and making him comfortable and effective.

Just to clarify, his PAS elbow DOES get high after he breaks his hands (because he breaks his hands so high) and before he gets to the high-cocked position. However, the height of his PAS elbow is OK at the high cocked position as his shoulders start to turn. His PAS elbow is high again at the release point, but that’s because his shoulders are tilted.

Were their comments based on looking at him on video or with the naked eye? If they were just based on what they saw with the naked eye, then they are meaningless (because the naked eye is too slow).

Also, your son throws from a very high arm slot (ala Hideki Okajima but without the huge head jerk) which makes it LOOK like he’s falling off the the side when in truth he’s balanced.

At the end of the day, I wouldn’t mess with him.

No, those comments were during slow motion analysis. They watched them both.

I don’t know what they are talking about.

I really like his mechanics, and the higher arm slot, and would recommend that you not let anyone mess with him.

Good advice. Thanks

good mechs, he just falls off the side alittle

well, very nice! stretching the hand out toward the catcher, snapping it off, and completing the pitch.

When I said, " get vertical" to the ground, I meant " get horizontal" to the ground.

I have a 16-yr old lefty who “tilts” his head off to the side similar to your son. In looking at the video he looks to be balanced when he finishes so I really don’t view this as a big issue. It can actually be very effective as the tilt in his shoulders gives him a high release point, which means he is throwing on more of a downward plane. I think sometimes coaches get caught up in a “cookie-cutter approach” (yes even college coaches) without a complete understanding of mechanics. I also agree with Chris O’Leary in that his elbow height at release looks ok once you factor in the tilt.

A couple of things I noticed in the clip. Just prior to ball release his back foot comes up off the ground quite noticeably so he could be leaving a few MPH on the table. Go to Google images and look at some photo’s of some power pitchers and for the most part you will see at ball release their back foot is still in contact with the ground (stabilization). Now compare that to your son.

It’s hard to tell for sure from the clip but it looks like to me he could lengthen his stride a bit to create a bit more elastic energy. It appears to me his front leg is just a bit stiff at release. I would like to see more back leg extension and throwing over a more flexed front knee. These again are what I would consider fine tuning things to maximize his velocity. Again, look at some pics on Google and notice at ball release the back leg extension and how close the back knee is to the ground (ala Sandy Koufax). Overall, I think his mechanics look pretty solid. Just my thoughts based on many years of studying mechanics. Good luck.